I recently took a week long trip to Chile with two other friends.
We spent most of our time in Santiago, Chile and one day in Vina Del Mar.
Getting To Chile
Since Santiago is a major city in South America, getting to Chile is pretty easy…but takes a while. I flew through United Airlines and Copa Airlines. I booked my flight on Priceline.com for around $1,000 round trip from Oklahoma. I went through Houston, Panama and then to Santiago.
The flight to Panama was around 4 hours and the flight from Panama to Santiago is another 5-6 hours…like I said, it takes a while.
You can expect a full day of travel or an over night flight.
Staying in Santiago
We also booked the place we stayed at on Priceline.com. The place we stayed at was MG Apartments. Here is their website. We stayed in the Providencia District. The price was good. The apartment was nice and the view was beautiful. No one at the apartments spoke English so that was a little difficult. (Tip: download the Google translate app on your phone, type in what you want to say and simply show your phone to the person).
Also, one more note on the accommodations in Chile. If you are used to big, spacious places like the Midwest in the US then get ready for a little change. Santiago is more like Manhattan. Tight, small, but manageable spaces.
Santiago is separated into Districts. Providencia is a nice, safe district to stay in.
We also spent a lot of time in the El Golf district. This is probably the nicest district in Santiago. This is where The W Hotel is located as well as the Ritz Carlton.
The apartment we stayed in was within walking distance to essentially everything we needed…food, grocery, shopping, pharmacy, etc.
View from our apartment balcony. The Andes in the background…amazing.
This was the biggest surprise. Growing up in the states, you hear how dangerous South America is. I can’t speak for the rest of South America, but the part of Chile we stayed in was nothing like this. In fact, I felt more safe in Santiago then I do where I live in Oklahoma. Now with that being said, we did use common sense and we didn’t go to any sketchy areas.
But where we stayed, I walked around at night by myself plenty of times and never once felt like I was in a dangerous situation.
The people were unbelievably nice…and patient. This is a country that speaks very little English and accepts the US dollar in very little scenarios. To say they were generous to us was an understatement. Most the time, they would politely laugh at us as we were trying to figure out what to do.
I can say this enough, the people in Chile were the nicest people I have ever spent time around. They left you alone and minded their own business…unless they thought they could help you. Then, they’d chime in and try to help in any way they could.
Food and Night Life
The food is not much different then food in the US. Lots of fast food, lots of processed food, soda pops, etc.
Their staple dish is french fries, grilled onions, steak and fried eggs…sounds pretty familiar right?
The best place to go for lots of restaurant and entertainment options is Constitucion Street. This is a 3 block street filled with restaurants and night life. Tell your cab driver to take you to the intersection of Constitucion and Bella Vista. Also, if you wanted to pull this area up on Google Maps and find a place to stay in this area, I think you will be happy you did.
Warning…if you’re going to Santiago thinking you are going to party hard, I would recommend a different destination. The night life is basically eating and drinking at a restaurant. I saw one club the last night we were there…it had 6 people inside of it.
The Weather and Pace
We were there in April. The weather was perfect. There was NO wind and it never got really hot or really cold.
The pace is equally perfect. Even though there is lots of traffic like NYC. The pace of the people is very slow. Don’t be in a hurry, cause you’ll probably be the only one.
Vina Del Mar Beach
I was most fascinated by the stray dogs. They were every where. But unlike stray dogs we are used to here in the states, these dogs are very nice and well fed. You can walk up to any of them and pet them and they will be your friend on your walk to your destination. In fact, we had a dog (Harry) escort us to and around one of the parks. It was almost like rent a dog…anyways, don’t be scared of them. They are very used to people. When we made is out to Vina Del Mar, a few of the dogs were even playing in the ocean with the kids!
While my cohorts were filming a video, our friend Harry decided to rest on my feet for a while.
This is a famous drink in Chile. I definitely recommend you try one…but just be warned, continue drinking at your own peril.
Chile was a great adventure and experience. If you are considering a visit here, I highly recommend you do. The people, the weather, the amenities…hard to beat.
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